January 2009


How do you measure a…

And why is it pissed?

And why is it pissed?

One of my favorite Flickr features is my “stats” page—I don’t do a great deal of photo promotion—rarely do my shots join groups. Therefore, it’s always interesting to me when I see an obscure picture suddenly get a lot of attention.

For the last couple weeks, I’ve been both puzzled and amused by the amazing number of times that my Angry Whopper photo has been viewed.

It’s a rather innocent photo for me—I snapped it because I thought the name was amusing. It’s an example of English being used in a foreign setting. If there was as much German in daily American life as there is English in daily German life, there would outrage amongst the Republicans. The Republicans are already annoyed by a tiny, insignificant, amount of Spanish in daily American life.

However, over the last month, this photo has been consistently amongst my top ten Flickr photos viewed daily. January 7th, it was viewed 43 times—the high point. It was viewed 31 times yesterday and 116 times this week, helping it reach 1,312 photos viewings since posting. This might not be a lot for true Flickr professionals, but for me it’s huge. It’s currently in 15th place amongst all my photos.

Over most of this time, most of the views have come via Google Image searches, keywords “angry whopper“—it’s currently the second photo that shows when conducting the search.

A bit of casual research also revealed that apparently the Angry Whopper is currently for sale at American Burger Kings. Apparently the thrill of ordinary onions raised on anger has prompted lots of people to search the web for more information, although one American reviewer said, “The only anger I get from the Angry Whopper is the anger I feel for it not being spicy enough.” (He goes on to say that he did like the burger.)

So today when I looked at the stats, I realized that there was a new source of hits on the photo: dailySpark.

dailySpark is “your healthy lifestyle blog”—in other words, not for me—and filled with burning entries like “100 Best Workout Songs of 2008: What’s Your Favorite?” and “DVD Review: The Biggest Loser Weight Loss Yoga”. The site gets a lot of comments—with most getting at least 30 comments and some well exceeding 200.

One of the 200 comment entries asks this burning question:

Burn it Off: How Much Yoga to Undo the Angry Whopper?

Seriously. And it features my photo.

The answer, it seems, is that for a 150lbs/68kg woman it will take 293 minutes to burn off the calories gained from eating one Angry Whopper. By the way, dailySpark research found that the American Angry Whopper contains 880 calories.

The author provides some faux-shocked anger at the caloric intake the Angry Whopper offers:

If I ate this sandwich, I’d be pretty angry to discover these nutrition facts afterward. I’d be so upset that I’d need to calm down with some yoga. How many downward facing dogs would it take?

Really, like there could be any surprise that either the Angry Whopper or Passive Whopper wouldn’t be stuffed full of calories—it’s certainly not something one should be eating for every meal, but like all things in moderation, it can be a part of an otherwise healthy diet.

Unless, of course, you live a healthy lifestyle or are desperate to earn 3 “SparkPoints“, in which case you are more than welcome to express more anger:

I’ve never had one of these sandwiches, and now I never want one. This sandwich has a junk name. I certainly do not want to eat a sandwich that is “angry”. EWW. How many of these would be sold if they were labeled with 293 minutes of Yoga on the wrapper… (197)

My daughter brought one home for dinner. I had a bite. Neither one of us liked it. We won’t get it again. (188)

I think selling food that is so high in fat, cholesterol, calories and sodium should be illegal. The government doesn’t have a problem mandating seat belts in cars, smoking in certain places, wearing hemets when cycling etc. so why don’t they mandate the amount of fat, calories etc. that are being used in the foods in the fast food chains ? It’s all in the name of safety and eating food like that (even just to try it) is not safe at all! (187)

Why is it called an Angry Whopper? Even when I ate junk food I never ate at BK. And we don’t have TV so I’d not heard of this until I saw it here on SP. Makes me really glad I am no longer a slave to junk foods. Even my five year old said, “oh that’s a junk place.” He’s never eaten at a junk food restaurant but he knows what they are. If a kid can figure it out why can’t adults? (174)

Given the way they taste, I don’t think any BK burger is worth eating. The presence of trans fats makes them even more distateful. Trans fat = manure. Even 1.5mg of manure is still manure in my food. No thank you. (1)

Of course there are many other comments, and after I perused long enough, I found the one that came closest to describing my feelings:

This article doesn’t apply to me. I am not a 150 pound woman.

Being a 220 pound man, I bet I can burn that sucker off in like 10 minutes of operating the TV remote.

I’ll take 2 please and supersize me! (56)

I wonder what’s on MTV today?

Too bad the Angry Whopper is not currently on the German Burger King menu—and I never actually tried it while it was on the menu. I feel like I’ve missed out on an American Experience in Germany.

9 comments to How do you measure a…

  • disenchanted

    BK food always leaves me slightly ill and wishing that I hadn’t taken that route. Blah.

  • G

    I guess I am angry, and I do think they should be sold with a big fat sign with the calories listed. Do you realize that is more than 75% of my daily caloric requirement? And I know that: how many others do? If I were the standard 5’5″ US woman, that would still be over 60% of my required daily allotment. Without adding a drink or sides. If we allow this to exist, we should require that this is labelled. Whenever that happens (a labelling requirement), strangely enough the transfats and calories wind up being cut tremendously. That makes it clear, does it not, that this is an abuse of ignorant consumers? Why are you in favor? Simply because if you think people arent smart enough to do research, while probably being poor and relatively nutrition unsophisticated, that they should develop diabetes and die?
    Can you tell this is a trigger issue for me? The hijacking of our food supply in the US has been aided by very big money interests. Like the securitization of mortgages, it has gone from a useful way to allow the masses to eat meat/ fast food/ get mortgages to allowing the masses to be stuffed full of HFCS and transfats/ give mortgages to those who will be destroyed by them/enrich ADM and other huge conglomerates.

  • Blech. The only reason I ever go into Burger King is because it’s usually the cleanest place to go to the john. And it’s free! No plunking down coins on the way out. Same for Mickey-D’s.

  • I don’t think the fact the cigarette packs in Germany mostly say “Rauchen kann tödlich sein,” but people keep smoking. Adding to the BK sign “Angry Whopper kann tödlich sein” probably won’t deter anyone. I’m anti-HFCS but think grassroots mobilization to help people buy differently is better than silly corporate restrictions. I work for a big’un company (non-food industry). We’re all paid to find ways around restrictions to making more money.

    What I’m disturbed by is the fact that dailyspark abled to use your photo with just a “source” reference. (The photo is actually stored on their site.) Hm!

  • I wonder when its cousing the Malcontent Whopper will appear on the menu. It is in American Burger Kings today, though I have not tried one.

  • @Disenchanted: I rarely have BK cravings, but I have to confess, I had a huge Whopper craving last week and I quenched it. I can assure you, I have no desire to go back in the near future.

    @G: I’m all in favor of information disclosure–fat/caloric content ought to be posted (isn’t it now required at chain restaurants in NYC?)–but the sense of moral outrage and surprise offered up by the Yoga-Health-Fanatics is a bit odd to me. It’s common sense that a Whopper isn’t healthy–but on the other hand, one Whopper every two or three months isn’t going to kill you. Two a day might….

    @Ian: That’s interesting–I view fast food restaurants as having clean toilets both here and in the US. My father does too, but my Grandfather, when he was alive, thought of gas stations–we would be driving around upstate New York and if he needed to use the WC, he would ask to stop at a gas station. I think, by mid 1980s, that gas station toilets were outclassed by fast food joints.

    @Scott: I’m pro-labeling. More information is better than less (except to those running the Bush administration)–I’m also pro-First Amendment/Freedom of Speech. As for the photo, I have a very open CC license on the photo and I don’t believe they are violating the terms of use–they do credit the source with a link.

    @CQ: Malcontent Whopper? Is that the Emo Whopper?

  • G

    Dash it all, can’y you add the thingie that alows udates on commented threads to be e-mailed to one?
    Yes, in NYC when transfat contents and calories were required to be listed, the restaurant chains (and here I mean real food as well as fat) wound up cutting sometimes 1/3 of the menu because people would not eat the items when they could actually see the contents. Now of course transfats are also banned. I think the Yoga fanataics (like fat unercised me?) are so angry because the deck is so stacked against particularly the poor and uneducated. It is so much easier (and cheaper) to eat fast and unhealthy than the other. The upper classes are the thin ones now. The lower and overworked middle are having chemicals and crap thrown at them (and really- it is far cheaper to buy a meal at McDs BK than it is to make the same thing). If you are poor, odds are you can’t afford the healthy stuff. Humans are wired to want more calories and its a self perpetuating endocrinal cycle. So throw things like transfats and HFCS in, which in animal studies produce tremendous obesity and non-recognition of satiety signals, then argue about simply labeling? Pretty clear that, like cigarettes, they don’t want you to know.
    And, as we all now, cigarettes are an addiction. So are HFCS and sugar. Would we allow people to put alcohol in food without labeling? Or, like McDs put beef fat in their vegetarian labeled fries- it’s all about making profit through lies. Since the pushing of cigarette labeling and education, cigarette addiction the the US amongst the educated has drastically declined. Here in Germany it has declined drastically as well. Perhaps people don’t realize it, but I do. The first time I ws in Germany (backpacking), I could smoke everywhere- in trains, in stations, in theatres. Now the non-smoking areas vastly outnumber the smoking. The restaurant and bar ban, even with some states fighting back, could never have been conceived of 15 years ago.
    Telling the truth helps. It’s our only weapon against the corporations that constantly lie and use professional psychologists against the consume.
    I’m an MBA- I really do know.

    • G

      – Excuse the typos, and for the curious, I quit smoking 11 years ago, so I have watched the change and been part of it- when I worked on Wall Street and the ban came in, my desk became “the designated smoking area” until I was so overwhelmed by the smog I had to ban it.

    • G, I will look into an email comments plugin–I’ve never installed one because it’s never occurred to me that people wanted one. It might take me a week or so to find the right one.

      I don’t have a lot of time right now (about to leave for work), but other than in India, I don’t think McD has ever claimed their fries were vegetarian. As I understand it, when McD switched fats the first time, Julia Child was upset–she felt that the fries tasted better with the beef tallow in the oil.

      Again, I will state, I am favor posting information about the health content of foods that are sold, whether at McDonalds or a 4 star restaurant…